See also The Changing Church
Picture: Saddleback Worship Center is on the right side; the special interest booths on the left. The tall building in the back is the Terrace Cafe. More pictures
Purpose Driven Churches - Achive 1
Your responses to Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven ? Part 1
From Ngaire Booth: Greetings from Australia. We are meeting opposition here and have thoroughly enjoyed your website. We are trying to absorb the information ASAP so we are better able to warn or comfort others, depending where they are. We recently met a young woman who was questioned because she had come to Christ through the Scriptures, and not through a programme!! Please feel free to give our email address to others form Australia as there are VERY FEW speaking out against this movement.Another note of interest is that Open Doors Ministry in Australia [they smuggle Bibles into persecuted countries] is going to offer a special programme to the Body of Christ, to ready the Saints in this country to stand against persecution. How do you like that? Their email address firstname.lastname@example.org They are apparently are offering this either late 2005 or early2006. God knows the need for this here in Australia. We also recently heard taped messages of David Pawson of the U.K.warning the Saints in that country to make ready for persecution. We can send a copy of those tapes if you wish.Love and Blessings
Thank you, Ngaire, for all the information -- and for making yourself available to encourage and help others.
From Dennis Nampa: Rick Warren, and the Saddleback Church, has done more to benefit the kingdom of God than any other ministry in the United States. Rick's call back to the church having a purpose of why they do what they do is a blessing. Having grown up as a pastor's kid, in a fundamental baptist church, I have been able to see exactly what Rick's heart is in this movement. For so long now, the church has been able to see souls saved; however, there has been nothing in place to provide discipleship to the people. Rick's heart and purpose of the "Purpose Driven Church" captures this. It teaches the importance of every member being a minister and their importance of doing evangelism (which is only one portion of the Great Commission). However, Rick's approach goes deeper than just evangelism, it captures the full essence of the Great Commission which completes the full circle of the five purposes in which Christ gave to the church to fulfill. If you are unable to see this, I pray that you would take a second look at the full scope of Rick's intention before you deliver an attack against the underlying reasons of why and what Rick has done for the better of the church.
Also, I believe that Paul makes it clear that we are not to be stumblingblocks to the unbeliever in seeing and hearing the gospel message. Paul even states that "I become all things to all men in order that I might win some." The church must get out of the mentality that preference is gospel and get back to the same believe as Paul. If it requires us to step outside of the church preferences in order to win a soul to Christ, then we must be willing to do so. If not, then I believe the church is guilty of being a stumblingblock to the unbeliever.
Thanks for your time in responding!
In Journey Together For Christ
I appreciate your thoughtful comments, Dennis. But the issue isn't "church preferences." It has to do with reinterpreting the Bible through new "versions" such as the Message, taking Scripture phrases out of context in order to validate and justify the world's entertainment and management strategies, emphasizing collectivism, giving an imbalanced view of God and His manifold attributes, making promises and suggestions that are not Biblical... -- all the points we explained in "Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven" and "Creating Community."
Like you, I want nothing more than to see unbelievers come to the Lord, Dennis. But if we "soften" God's Word, present a God that pleases the world, or widen the gate to His kingdom, we are not serving our King --or the people who need to know His whole truth. Please see "Don't conform to the ways of the world" and "Persecution" and "God's eternal, unchanging Word."
From Jane Whiting: Re: The question raised by an earlier letter, What's driving all the PDL pastors?
In reading that letter I could not help but reflect on "The story behind the story" or better yet.... the spiritual "wizard" behind the screen in the occult tale "the Wizard of Oz." As what is so aptly portrayed in Ralph Epperson's book The Unseen Hand we have to ultimately look at the spiritual forces that are continually at work behind the scenes of human history. Those demonic forces, which are more active now in these last days than at any time in history, are focusing in both the "good" and evil types of deception.
The original tree apart from the tree of life was the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil" which "was good for food, & pleasant to the eyes, & a tree to be desired to make one wise." (Genesis 3: 6)
These pastor's are knowingly or unknowingly feasting on that very tree & being seduced by the demonic forces behind it. "You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue." (Psalm 52:3-4)... “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24.
This is a time as never before we must stay alert and stand firm in the Faith that was once and for all delivered unto the saints.
In Christ Jesus I stand,
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) For "...the whole
world is under the sway of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)
From Don Mitroff: All 4 of your points I agreed with. However I have come to conclude that the missing element is Mysticism ( tapping into the spirit realm). I believe that the evidence is in that via Pastoral counseling, Transpersonal Psychology, Robert Schuller and Willow Creek leadership conferences, etc... along with so called inner healing and "higher self" actualization methods. Many pastors have opened their hearts and minds to spiritism and have opened Pandoras spiritual box. They have been initiated and spiritistically hornswaggled to think "outside" the box ( aka Gods WORD ) or even to center or "tap into" Jesus via contemplative prayer, meditation, etc.. AND THEY HAVE GOTTEN MUCH MORE THAN THEY EVER BARGAINED FOR.
Here's evidence that links Rick Warren to mysticism: (1) Warren's open endorsements of Dan Kimball of the emerging church...( heavy mysticism endorser). (2) Endorsement of Richard Foster on his website.
Yet under the complete providential knowledge and plan of Jehovah, who is bringing this judgment for His Ultimate Glorification and so that all things may be fulfilled as written in His Holy Word.
It used to be //that you couldn’t get a group of Pastors to agree on anything -- color of carpet, order of service, church discipline, length of service, music, etc.... Now, however...... enter New Age Mysticism or spiritism wrapped up as Sound Christian disciplines...and voila...UNITY CONSCIOUSNESS!!!!
1 Timothy 4:1, 2 "Now the Holy Spirit speaketh expressly, that in latter times, some shall depart from THE FAITH giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, having their consciences seared as with a hot iron."
This page quotes Thomas Merton: http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/?artid=2043&id=59
I share your concern about Richard Foster and Renovare, Don. And I wrote about Thomas Merton in A Twist of Faith - Chapter 2. Here are two links that back your observations:
The Purpose-Driven Church. (From Rick Warren's pastors.com) Brian McLaren: the story we find ourselves in: "Interdependence, though imbedded in nature, is foreign to the Western individualism so ingrained in American (U.S.) Christianity. That's why McLaren's 'new kind of Christian' often uses words like 'journey' and 'conversation' to describe Christian life beyond the postmodern divide....
"'Brian has moved beyond simple deconstruction and stone-throwing to a much more productive combination of healthy critique along with future-thinking and praxis,' says Mark Oestreicher ofYouth Specialties."
The next article is from the popular magazine started by Youth Specialties:
Mysticism. Contemplative Prayer Practices: "Every book on CPP [Contemplative Prayer Practices] I've ever read talks about deep breathing. Interestingly, while this is the most physical aspect of CPP, spiritually it's the most suspect. ...
"Ignatian Contemplation: A form of prayer used by Saint Ignatius of Loyola incorporating the imagination. There are a number of different exercises associated with Ignatian contemplation, but there are two I teach frequently. The first is connected to sacred reading, and simply put is visualizing the situation of a Biblical text with you in it.....
"The point of a labyrinth is to journey to the center of a spiral pattern traced on the ground and journey back out again. While walking through the pathway in the labyrinth, participants are encouraged to ask God to speak to them in the walking. ....
"Iona: Refers to an ecumenical community based on the island of Iona where Saint Columba founded a monastery. ... Beginner's tip: Get a bunch of people together. Be intentional and accountable and outwardly focused. I guarantee this CPP is the hardest, but also the most rewarding."Romans 8:26-27
From a discerning pastor: (A response to "Part 5: Spiritual Gifts and Community Service") Well aware of the misuse of the Spiritual Gifts by so many churches, we began a mid-week Bible study at the beginning of the year on Spiritual Gifts. It has been a wonderful journey for myself, beginning NOT with what I was taught in Bible School all those pentie-years ago, but with the WORD OF GOD and an open heart and a hunger for the TRUTH. It has been a long journey and we've only JUST begun 1 Cor 12 this last few weeks, spending quite some time in Romans. But before that, we laid some foundations from the Old Testament, looking at how God equipped men to build His Tabernacle (His dwelling place amongst men) as a foundation to the building of His Spiritual dwelling place among the Church today.
The study has brought us all closer to God and into a deeper understanding of how He desires to work in and through us, and how He desires us to live and serve and trust in HIM. Our study has shown, without a shadow of doubt, that God works through our weaknesses, NOT our strengths, and how, with so many examples from Scripture (and from Church History, including today), that our strengths only get in the way. Of course God can, and does use the natural strengths and gifts He has given us, but that is completely opposed to how Warren, Hybels and others teach it in the Church. The most difficult task we have is to surrender our gifts and to allow HIM to rule and reign, with or without our gifts, and to use us in our weakness and TOTAL dependence on HIM -- driven by Love for Him and for HIS glorification. My own testimony of transferring from my previous engineering profession to teaching and ministry is one of letting go of my own natural gifting and strength, of which I so depended.
I find that those with MUSICAL gifts have the MOST difficulty in doing this, but the Church does NOT discourage but ENCOURAGES the participation in church life with these musical gifts, regardless of one's spiritual walk. (And as a result, our music in the church is getting more professional and less worshipful of HIM who is worthy of our adoration, and I'm certain I need not elaborate on that point further to one such as yourself!)
May God bless you and keep you close to His heart, ever seeking out the truth and becoming more conformed to His image day by day, from glory to glory.
From a concerned Christian mother: I have to watch myself and not get too absorbed in all that is going on or I get depressed or shortcut time I should be spending homeschooling and taking care of my family. It truly is sad that most around me don't want to hear about how the church is being buffaloed, just like the schools. And it amazes me every time I read about another person who has been labeled a dissenter and forced out of their church.
I've been meaning to ask you what you believe it is that is driving all of these pastors? Is it that Warren and Hybels have captured the heads of all the denominations with consensus building and it is then a top-down pressure to the districts and on to the individual pastors? (Spread via annual denomination pastoral conferences?).
It just boggles my mind that there are that many Bible-believing pastors who are sucked into this based just on the numbers and growth alone. There has to be another carrot.
I, too, wonder what is driving so many seemingly faithful pastors into the new fold. Here are some possible reasons:
1. The threat of losing so many church members that they will be forced to close.
2. The much repeated statement that traditional churches will die or are dying.
3. Publications such as Christianity Today's Leadership, which tells all kinds of promising stories about leaders and churches who have chosen to go with the purpose-driven transition. Whether they know it or not, many embrace what Erwin McManus calls "The Theology of Change," in his book The Unstoppable Force. (Rick Warren wrote its foreword: "Read it and learn. Read it with an open mind.... This book will help you along the way."
4. The popularity of Rick Warren's books. Around the world, thousands of church members who have read the Purpose Driven Life are pressuring their pastors to go through the 40-Days processes. If enough people insist on doing so, it's hard for a pastor to resist. Once the church has finished the first 40-days program, the leaders face even more pressure to continue with more of the same -- or send pastors to some of the PD pastors and leaders conferences.
The last point is probably the most effective one.
From Fabienne: Little could Amy Carmichael have imagined how low the church in the West would sink less than a hundred years after she wrote "Things as They Are" (1903)[long out of print]. Yet her words in chapter 7 of that book are so apt when addressing the "seeker-friendly" approach. She describes a visit to a home in South India where she shares the Gospel with a group of women:
"Something in our talk led to a question about the character of Jesus, and, as we tried to describe a little of the loveliness of our dear Lord to her, her dark eyes kindled. 'How beautiful it is!' she said. 'How beautiful He must be!'
She seemed 'almost persuaded,' but we knew it was only almost, not quite; for she does not yet know her need of a Saviour, she has no sense of sin. Sometimes, it is true, that comes later; but we find that if the soul is to resist the tremendous opposing forces which will instantly be brought to bear upon it if it turns in the least towards Christ, there must be a *conviction* wrought within it; nothing so superficial as a *feeling*, be it ever so appreciative or hopeful or loving, will stand that strain."
Satan is no less active in our Western society than he was -- and is -- in South India. He is quite happy to let people take an interest in
Christianity because of some emotional moment, but he is not about to let them continue in that direction if he can help it, and will do all he can to put pressure on them if they look to be too interested in the true Gospel.
Miss Carmichael would have been horrified to see aspects of Hinduism -- in the form of New Age practices -- being welcomed and adopted in the church! How can people who call themselves by the name of Christ be so blind?
Oh, how we must pray for the church's leaders, and for our deceived brothers and sisters, that they might turn from this evil path and cling to the Truth!
From S. O.: I have gotten myself on Rick Warren's email list, and have seen some pretty interesting material. Much of it is run-of-the-mill stuff, but this one is so blatantly promoting Diaprax that I had to pass it along. Unfortunately, I have previous commitments on the days of this conference or I would attend. (see below)
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Purpose Driven Ministries" <email@example.com> [See http://www.purposedriven.com]
Subject: Church Transitions Coming to the Kansas City Area - Oct 5 - 6
This conference will help you to transition your program-driven church to one that is purpose-driven. Through this conference, you will learn an 8-step process to transition your church to one that reaches its community for Christ.
Day One will help you develop a strategy to effectively lead your church through change. You will learn how to prepare the vision, define the vision, plant the vision, and share the vision for a church that reaches the lost for Christ.
Day Two will help you to begin the process of transitioning your program-driven church. Learn how to implement your vision, deal with opposition, make course corrections, and evaluate your results. ...
DAN SOUTHERLAND Author of Transitioning: Leading Your Church Through Change and founder of Church Transitions, Inc.
GLEN SARTAIN Glen Sartain is an international transition coach who has directly led traditional churches through transition to become fully Purpose-Driven.
From Patrick Shreve: I just read part of the excerpt on the Purpose Driven Life where there was a section on "Ancient Egypt and Oneness" [from Deceived on Purpose]. I was struck by the term that was used in the the Lord's Prayer: "as above, so below." [see The Message]
I couldn't help but corrolate this with the belief of the Mormons. "As we are, God once was, and as He is we will become." How much of a coincidence this is I say. Seems like the enemy sure loves to infiltrate the Christians presence, and so many fall for his subtle influence and have not the the presence of the Holy Spirit to discern the craftiness of the enemy. We have to be on our toes at all times and above all wear the full Armor of God and not lay any of it down, for when one piece is laid down we are struck with his fiery darts. Again may God continue to bless you and yours in this ministry of discernment.
From Dennis M.: I am really dismayed. Even before I ever read one word of commentary about Rick Warren's purpose driven books and philosophy, or ever read your articles on the subject, my red flag went up. I knew right in the beginning that something was seriously wrong. I am no theologian by any stretch of the imagination. A great deal of the Bible I do not yet have a good "handle" on. Still, I can see through the purpose driven deception. What I find to be so upsetting is the sheer number of supposedly learned Christians that are embracing this new program. Why can't they see what I seem to be able to see and what you have written about? I find that most so called Christians who have embraced Mr. Rick Warren and his material are already so steeped in it that it is nearly useless to even try to discuss it. I have been soundly rejected by people who are glaringly blind and deaf to any sound Biblical reasoning. It simply boggles my mind. I don't even want to try to discuss it anymore. It is sad.
Fourth letter from Karl Hansen (see first letter and scroll down to second letter): Good news! Our decision to leave caused much concern and heartache. Both humility and love for the truth is winning. The leadership is open to continue to learn about possible dangers of the purpose-driven model. While there may be much more to learn and grow before we see a recognition of its perniciousness, we no longer have deaf ears. As long as they are listening we will continue to sound our voices in loving concern.
God bless and thanks for your prayers.
PS. I am reading Charles Spurgeon's "Down-grade" controversy. He faced similar pressures with the rise of modernism and eventually was rejected for what he wrote. His humility, faith, and boldness would likely be an encouragement to all facing these things today.
"Look to me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God and is there no other." Isaiah 45:22
I thank God and praise Him with you! He always proves Himself faithful to those who faithfully trust Him and follow His ways!
Third letter from Karl Hansen (see first letter and scroll down to second letter): I just returned from a 3 hour meeting with my church elders. I would say that I stood my ground with conviction, openness, and humility. Perhaps there are areas that I need to grow in and I am willing to accept that. My main defaults in trying to shed light on the purpose-driven model and other things according to the elders is that I am not loving enough. They feel that I come across too negative and make people feel lower than me. This is a deception in me that I cannot see according to them. The young man that threw me out of the meeting was not corrected or rebuked for his actions.
I was instructed that there is nothing wrong with Warren's association with powerofpurpose.org as he has "infiltrated" the camp of the enemy to influence it for good. No talk of "New Evangelicalism" would help. Much warning and admonition was given to me for not have a proper balance between grace and truth. But simply because I disagree? The fact that the church has not fully accepted all of Warren's ways makes accepting some of it ok.
After I was challenged by all these things, warned, and told I have no Biblical reason to separate from this church, we dismissed with prayer. I have never felt so alone and misunderstood in my life. My wife was in tears as I recounted the evenings events. No matter how true my words may have been, because they didn't produce good reactions in people I was being unloving.
I appreciate your prayers. Please post this if you like. I know it is not much, but we are going through a real tough time now.
"Look to me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God and is there no other." Isaiah 45:22
From Dan Titus: Thank you so very much for your articles regarding Pastor Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church. Our church is rather large. We recently received a new pastor. Immediately changes began to occur that changed the focus and the direction of our church. We were very troubled by it, but were unable to put our finger on the problem. Other people shared our concerns, as well. After reading the first article you wrote about Purpose Driven or Spirit Led, it makes perfect sense what is happening. I went to Saddleback’s website and to my amazement saw many of our church’s web pages (different church, different address, but same concepts). Even the terminology is the same. We wept last night.
I’ve been preparing for the ministry (I’m 47 years of age). We began to pray what God’s direction would be for us. Our children could not stand the youth department because of the lack of spiritual training. Everything was this “feel good” gospel. Last year I was asked to teach the high school Sunday school class for four weeks. At the end of each lesson the students broke up into discussion groups. I presented the questions for them to discuss. One group decided they would rather discuss the latest R-rated movie. The discussion leader had no problem with them changing the discussion. Another group looked at the questions and said, “that doesn’t pertain to us. We don’t need to discuss this.” Their discussion leader allowed that as well. The discussion was on I Thessalonians. It was a discussion about persecution. No interest in the Bible.
We started small groups in our church. I didn’t want to participate, but God moved on my heart to be a small group leader. I am training people to learn how to evangelize. Out of approximately 75 small groups, there are only 3 that are ministry oriented. One is on evangelism (mine); one is evangelism specifically to the construction industry; and one is to women recently released from jail. Everything else is social in nature. There is no direction for the gospel. We are left on our own to do what we want. I’m happy that we are teaching evangelism, however. At least some people are receiving the gospel.
I’m sorry to vent like this. I just want you to know that what you are presenting has been on our hearts for some time. God bless you richly,
Second letter from Karl Hansen (see first letter): Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah. I wanted to share an update with you concerning the purpose-driven situation in my church. The leadership has not required me to submit weekly assessments due to my objections. My pastor also sees problems with Warren's Gospel, but is leaving these things virtually untouched. In other words, it is being ignored. This doesn't make sense to me at all. I showed how Warren has associations with unbelievers that is unbiblical (powerofpurpose) and submitted a statement of faith on separation to be included in our church. The statement was read from the pulpit and endorsed so I have hope that we may see changes. Yet nothing is being done and my questions and concerns are not being addressed which makes me feel ignored.
Nevertheless, my "stance" of opposing certain things has not been received well. The other night a video was shown that contained highly questionable elements and images that disturbed the youth. I took the youth director aside privately after the meeting was over and urged him for more discernment and to work with me on these things. This man lost his temper and began yelling at me and then threw me out of the meeting.
Please keep my family in your prayers. We feel isolated and alone, but are praying without ceasing asking God to change our hearts where we in error and strengthen our hearts in the areas that are pleasing and honoring to Him. The Lord is certainly not pleased with this kind of contention and friction between brothers. We need wisdom as to whether to stay and work it out without compromise, or ask the Lord to move us along to a place where we can fellowship with like-minded believers.
This man who threw me out of the meeting also teaches our young children and my wife does not want our children taught by him now. We need to find a place where we can grow in the Lord as a family.
All glory to Jesus!
I am so sorry, Karl, that you and your family must suffer so under this new system that demands inclusiveness and forbids so much of the truth. Yet, I am confident that our Lord will use your struggle for good. You are truly at the forefront of the new form of persecution in what was the christianized world. It reminds me of John 16:2.
Here are two articles that I will refer to in my next article on the 40 days of community. The first one is by Rick Warren:
The second article explains how that societal transformational must be accomplished. It is posted in the digital library ("blackboard") of the leadership school for Regent University in Virginia, which was founded by Pat Robertson. One of the associate pastors from Saddleback (Eric Rees) is apparently studying the latest leadership strategies at that "Christian"
I just thought this article might help explain the criticisms you had to endure tonight -- and the program that is being implemented in large churches around the world. You may recognize Peter Senge's name. I wrote about him in "Reinventing the Church, part 2."
Please don't feel you need to read all this. I just thought that you might be encourage to see that your Biblical position, which must have pleased our Lord, would not fit the new systems thinking. We are truly approaching a time when the religious establishment will despise those who stand on God's Word. But "blessed are you when men hate you" and reject you ... and spurn your name as evil for His name sake. "Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven." Luke 6:22
Thank you for modeling such faith and obedience to Jesus, our Lord and King. I am so glad He is your Rock and your Refuge in the midst of this storm.
From Rose and Heidi: I am writing on behalf of my sister and myself to tell you our story. We, too, had to leave our church when it fell into the Purpose Driven deception. That was in mid 2003, and it wasn't until April, 2004 that we stumbled upon your website. It has been a source of fellowship, encouragement and vital information for which we are very grateful. We find your research accurate and in line with what we have experienced. Here is our story:
When we first came to our church five years ago, each of us received a tremendous deliverance from demonic oppression that stemmed from the occult and involvement in the charismatic movement. My deliverance was especially remarkable, as I had fallen into such darkness and bondage through charismatic deception as is hard to describe. The presence of God was so evident in our church and the Holy Spirit showed me all that was wrong, and the truths from His word that enabled me to leave Satan's kingdom and receive the full redemption of our Lord Jesus. I was wonderfully saved and delivered.
But slowly and subtly, the enemy found ways of accessing our church, and I could see how allowing sin and compromise, and not obeying God's precepts opened the door to Satan's activities. Around mid 2002, our pastor and church fell for the deception of the Purpose Driven Church. Thank God that, since He had brought us out of deception already, my sister and I could see what was happening, and we gave many warnings to the leadership that our church was in great danger. We prayed and pleaded as God's hand of judgment came on our church, the Holy Spirit was grieved away, and dark spirits of the New Age and the occult came in.
What finally forced us to leave was what we saw the night we attended a session of our district conference. The speaker was Dr. Kevin Mannoia of California, founder of the Century 21 Church Planting System, which we were not aware that our church had adopted. His whole talk consisted of New Age terminology. The occult demonic oppression released during his talk, was the most powerful I have ever felt. I rushed out of the church to pray outside; my sister stayed and took notes. We left, terribly shaken, and never returned. God gave us both the scripture about the "abomination of desolation standing in the holy place". Here are some of the notes from Mannoia's talk:
He jokingly referred to the upset in the church when the contemporary music came in. Then he said, "There's going to be more changes, so get used to it; it's O.K." He used terms like: Kingdom connectedness, apostolic movement, think collectively, nature of the Kingdom as community, transformed communities, a Kingdom people collectively. He kept referring to a "river" and encouraged everyone to "go deep", "go in over your head". He said, "Wouldn't it be great if the church of God went totally out of control?" He said, "Let the river flow - become God's people." He also used a visualization technique. During his talk he cracked jokes about whether you could worship God while you're smoking marijuana. The two slogans for the district conference were:
"GOING FROM GOOD TO GREAT" and "CHANGING THE WAY WE DO CHURCH".
My sister and I have waited on God much about our church's situation over the past 3 years, and, as impossible as it seems, He has given us an unshakeable assurance that He will deliver and restore our church. He has led us to pray and believe for a revival of true Christianity. He has guided our every step and strengthened us along the way. We have distributed material to our church leadership and various members to alert them about the apostasy. For the longest time there seemed to be no response or interest. But we continued to sense God's hand with us in a distinct, undeniable way. A few months ago, we saw the tide begin to turn. We are more frequently encountering church members and they have been more receptive. What joy the Lord gave us when He arranged an amazing meeting with a woman in our church who also sees the error of the PDC and expressed her burden about what is happening. She is speaking out. God has also opened opportunities to share the truth with two other purpose driven churches in our city and has spurred our faith for revival there, too.
We have been greatly encouraged through reading Jonathan Goforth's book, "By My Spirit". His accounts of revival show how a revived remnant can intercede for an intervention of God's mercy.
We covet your prayers and thank you for your fellowship and ministry.
Rose and Heidi, I thank God for your willingness to take a stand! It’s a real spiritual war, isn’t it? How blessed we are to know our King at a time such as this!
I haven't read Jonathan Goforth's book, but I have read a little about him. He sounds like a wonderful missionary and servant of God. I would like to read his book.Second letter from Rose and Heidi: We have not had a church to attend now for over a year and it is so good to have found some Christians who are like-minded to fellowship with over the internet! Even my two boys, aged 11 and 14 were excited about and happy to receive your e-mail.
Berit, I am submitting the rest of the quotations from Mannoia's (yes, it is double "n") talk. Here they are:
"kingdom culture", "great kingdom community", "kingdom is like a river", "we're like that river of God", "under the flow of the Holy Spirit", "kingdom flow", "that river will carry, sustain, uphold you", "the church is always changing", "be the people of God in community", "wherever you go life thrives in your collective units - in your community", "differentiated identity", "cluster power", "you're an apostolic movement of the flow of God that comes from his very heart", "fruit of transformed communities". (end of quotes)
Not once did Mannoia make mention of the Lord Jesus Christ or of His Gospel.
Here is some background information on him: past president of the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals), and Bishop Emeritus of the Free Methodist Church. You can find more info about him at www.pbs.org and www.apu.edu/unboxing/partners/KevinMannoia.htm
Please DO post any or all of the information/letters we sent you. We too were hoping this would serve as a wake up call for other Christians. Once again, thank you for your support and prayers.
From a concerned Christian: First of all I want to thank you for the articles on the Church Growth Movement (CGM) that you have posted on your web site. I found them very helpful when I began my recent search for information on Rick Warren, 40 Days of Purpose, etc. I am still digesting the articles and have shared them with my wife.
My wife and I attend a Baptist church in Sydney, Australia. Recently the senior leadership team have decided to run with 40 DOP (starting in October) and I can see the progressive steps you have mentioned in your articles taking place - we have already been urged to "sign up" - every one of us - for the program. But I'm an analytical person and decided to do a bit of checking of my own, which revealed some very disturbing information.
I feel that our leadership, and senior pastor in particular, are "sold" on 40 DOP. Apparently our church is intended to be a "model" that would encourage other churches to accept certain changes in the way we "do church" - that is, along CGM lines.
I have shared some of my concerns with my pastor, but have received little feedback so far . Your prayers will be valued.
I hope and pray that God will touch the hearts of your pastors with the warnings concerning the worldwide purpose-driven movement. I know many in Australia -- pastors as well as church members -- have tried to stop this drive from transforming their churches. But those who are caught up in the new fervor seem blind and deaf to the problems, almost like ancient Israel when the Isaiah and Jeremiah tried to warn them. It is so sad.
May God continue to encourage and speak through you to those around you. And may He strengthen you and draw you ever closer to Himself through this battle.
From Joel D. Augenstine, Sr.: Thank you so much for posting the two current articles "Spirit Led or Purpose Driven" 4 and 5. My wife and I have not been a part of traditional (so called) church group for the past 15 years. I could never put my finger on what was going on in churches that my wife and I would attend. I knew for certain that what they were teaching and preaching was not from God or Jesus Christ. At one time I was even asked to become an elder, so I took the opportunity after prayer and talking with my wife and others that I respected and knew as Godly men.
During the first elders meeting I was asked if I would also accept the position of Chairman, my what an honor I thought. Then the second meeting came and so did the reprimands for not taking care of things properly. This was a small group of Bible believing Christians, but there was one elder, a business owner, that wanted to build a larger sanctuary. You know if we build it they will come. But, I was not taught just to accept more debt as that is what God wants us to do, my father was a missionary, Bible based preaching evangelist, my mother reared by her parents to read and meditate on scripture, my first reading book was my mom's King James Bible. I opposed this man's proposition, I explained that the reason we were small was not because of building size, it is only God who increases, and that is what we need to focus on. After that second meeting the elder and his wife made accusations that I was not fit for service, nor was my wife fit to teach any of the children in Sunday School. So we left. About six months later the congregation slowly left and the building was sold.
You wrote about a congregation that was asked to vote whether to follow, blindly, the leaders. The vote was 750 to 165 to accept what the leadership wanted for the congregation. Only 18% thought that the Bible was the correct way to teach, 82% thought that man's way was ok. Do you think this would be a fair assessment as to how many Christians are really following Jesus' commands? Only a few take the narrow hard road, most want an eight lane super smooth freeway. During the mid seventies I drove a over the road truck and trailer hauling livestock from sales yards to farms and ranches in Washington and Oregon. Most of the roads were black topped, some had dividing lines, some did not. There were a lot of times, because I delivered the livestock at night after the sales finished, it was foggy, very foggy, most of the time you felt as though you were driving in a circle and difficult to see the road. But I never had an accident, never lost or killed any of my four legged passengers. But I am reminded a lot about those days or nights of driving, that this is the way Jesus is. Even though the road is narrow and dark, if you stay in the word for your headlights and ask the Father for direction, you do not need a man made GPS system which will fail most of the time.
Knowing the Savior Jesus is not a religion, it is the way to life and to live now.
It’s a hard time for so many uncompromising Christians around the world, Joel. I believe God is teaching all of us to persevere, endure rejection and remain faithful to Him no matter what challenges we face -- just as you are doing. I am so glad you have found fellowship with a few others in Christ. So many families tell me they were rejected by all their friends when they chose (or were asked) to leave the church they had served for years.
From Jane Whiting: (concerning "165 members ousted from Gardendale Baptist") As Rick Warren Says "we loose hundred's but gain thousands," this is a good example of what he means by "Blessed Subtraction." Or as a local pastor stated "If you don't get connected in a small group or are willing to "serve" in ministry, leave, we need the parking space."
From Karl Hansen: I recently read your post about Gardendale Baptist and needless to say I was appalled. The article did not mention any heresy on the part of those who were expelled from the church nor were they accused of any gross immorality or heinous sin. Their only apparent violation seemed to be non-conformity to the purpose-driven paradigm shift.
I am a youth leader at our church. Like other church leaders, I have been asked to submit weekly evaluations about our meetings. I am asked to report on attendance, success of the meeting, problems that occurred, what the purpose of the meeting was, etc.
The church staff would have the youth ministry turned into a smorgasbord of entertaining activities designed to retain current students and attract new ones. It needs to be “fun” and “exciting” and you need to shorten the message time. Doctrine doesn't fit. Scriptures like Acts 2:42 don't matter.
I would very much like to get more information about Gardendale if possible. I think they can serve as strong example to us who have just implemented this new philosophy into the church. I have shown the staff that Peter Drucker’s communitarian ideology pervades Warren’s thinking. To my astonishment they didn’t seem alarmed at all. In fact, it was defended with the argument that God used Pharaoh, so why couldn’t he use a Peter Drucker! What a misapplication of the Word of God!.
Thank you, Karl, for sharing your observations. The conflict you face is multiplied around the world.
I had actually posted a link to an audio news interview with some of the people forced to leave Gardendale Baptist Church, but the link no longer works. Perhaps someone wanted to limit the public exposure.
It's sad to see how the postmodern church misapplies God's Word. You mentioned the argument that "God used Pharaoh" to justify the pragmatic purpose-driven acceptance of a partnership between the church and the world. I keep hearing the same reasoning from others. The following statement was posted on Bob Buford's Leadership Network (leadnet.org) which works with large churches around the world (See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process"):
In the report, "Ten Paradigm Shifts Towards Community Transformation - Part 2," Eric Swanson quotes Ecclesiastes 4:9 (“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work”) to validate his point that churches must shift "From duplication of human services and ministries to partnering with existing services and ministries." Misapplying that Scripture -- and ignoring the fact that most community agencies ban the gospel message in order to remain "spiritually neutral," he explains:
"Nearly every community has a number of human service agencies that are morally positive and spiritually neutral that are doing their best to meet the needs of the underserved and under-resourced people of the community. Such agencies include the local food bank, homeless shelter, emergency family housing, and safe houses for abused women, etc. Equally true there are church and parachurch ministries that are effective in ministering to specific target audiences (business community, youth, college students, etc). Rather than starting a new ministry, why not form partnerships with existing groups as “partner ministries” of a local congregation? Chances are that people from your congregation are already serving in many of these organizations. Why not use the current community energy to create synergy?
"The Bible is replete with examples of how God used secular people in partnership with his people to fulfill his purposes. Think of Joseph and Pharaoh...."
But God tells us a different message:
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"'I will dwell in them and walk among them.
I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'
"Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate,' says the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God." Romans 1:1-2
"You shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land." Judges 2:2
"...do not be conformed to this world...." Romans 12:2
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:15-17
From Jillian: My church did the 40 days of purpose course, and during that time I found your website. Since then I've explored it thoroughly, and found other sites of useful information. My church has recently found a new pastor who starts next month, and in his previous work he was a community quality manager for a welfare organisation! I have been able to warn others about the changes likely to occur in our Baptist church when this man takes up leadership. I cannot thank you enough for your diligence in alerting Christians to what is going on in the world. I'm ashamed and disappointed that so many of us are failing to discern the times, as the Bible tells us to do.
Thank you, Jillian. It's hard not to go along with something that sounds so good and attracts so many people. But God called us to a narrow road, not the wide, popular one, didn't He?
From Larry Fox: I just wanted to encourage you on your article that was written in response to Rick Warrens Purpose - Driven series. I sat through the 40 days of Purpose and while I do feel there is a benefit to the teaching I was disappointed by what I recognize as "modernity" in much of Mr. Warren's ideas.....the very thing we as believers should be running from. I have read "No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology" by David F. Wells and I see so much of what I learned in his book being commented on in your writing as well. This wasn't exactly an exciting book to read.....but it explains very well how theology and doctrine is simply being left out of our churches today.....and it's alarming to tell you the truth.
I agree with so much of what you had to say about Mr. Warrens approach.....his emphasis on peoples "feelings" and honestly in many instances putting "self" first. As in the case of saying a prayer and saved the emphasis was on giving your life focus, simplifying your life, increasing motivation in your life and preparing yourself for eternity.....all of which smell of selfishness and "modernity".
These are confusing times we live in.....but it has been made very clear to me that it is as important now as it has ever been to teach my children the absolutes and the biblical doctrines that we all should hold so dear. I often wonder where we would be without God's truth?
Again, thank you for allowing yourself to be led in offering a counter opinion to a brother who means well....but who I believe is missing a fundamental point in his approach to his teaching.....and that is God's absolute truth....and the biblical doctrine that goes with it....I encourage you to keep honoring God by speaking "truth" always....showing love and compassion to your brothers and sisters, but never falling from the truth.....there are too many believers today who are getting caught up in "forms" of godliness. We must be careful.
I agree, Larry. Thank you for sharing our concerns. It's often hard here in America to remember the words Jesus emphasized that last week when He prepared his disciples for the times ahead. He told His disciples to "keep watch." "Be on guard! Be alert!" (Matt 24 and Mark 13)
But we want to trust all who call themselves Christian, and we don't like to disagree. Perhaps we need to encourage each other more to be as careful to "put on" God's armor of truth as we are to put on seatbelts. "Therefore let us not sleep as others do," wrote Paul, but let us watch and be sober." 1 Thessalonians 5:6
"Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed...." Acts 17:10
From Jo Lewis: A visiting pastor came to speak to our church today and referred to it as a church in crisis. I'm sure that many people in the church don't know that I (and a few others) have expressed concern about the direction the church has been headed. The pastor basically said that he has visited many churches that were in a crisis situation and gave scenarios about how they worked it out. Said everyone had to COMPROMISE. Why doesn't that shock me?
He also said that in one church a man would not accept the changes, so they finally sent someone from church EFC HQ who asked him to leave. After he left, the church grew!!! Hmmm.
That matches our observations in Dealing with Resisters and Re-Inventing the Church, doesn't it, Jo? I am so sorry to see one more church being changed through this pragmatic process. May God continue to give us the discernment and courage to follow His narrow road without compromise.
From Caroline S.: I have been following your articles on the Church Growth Movement. Part 8 ("Small Groups and the Dialectic Process") reminds me of Sensitivity Training in the 60's and Rogerian "group therapy for the normal" followed by "Values Clarification" process oriented education used in a variety of courses in public schools.
Approximately 15 years ago, William Coulson (sp?), former protege of Carl Rogers, spoke in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was touring the country apologizing for the harm this humanistic movement had done. I recall reading his articles and his in-the-nutshell comment that the main fault of these programs is that they subjectivize objective concerns. I don't know the current status of these programs in the schools. Perhaps they are still being used under other names. Diversity training?
Yes, I've also heard William Coulson, Caroline. And what he warned us about has now become mainstream practice in schools, communities and business as well as churches across the country.
From Cheryl: Yesterday, I read the article by A. Tozer on The Loneliness of the Christian. How true it is. You could not have put this one out at a better time. I have frequently mentioned to people in conversation, that our walks for Him will be very lonely at times, IF, we are truly in His will. We are to be a 'peculiar' people and will be looked upon as odd or 'peculiar'. Again, thank you for your ministry.... Please know your voices are being heard.
Thank You, Lord!
From Missy: The Loneliness of the Christian says it all. Lately I've have been trying to express to my husband (unsaved) how it is that I'm feeling a joy in my life that has no words. When people are suicidal they tend to walk through life feeling detached and watching life happen to them. I believe what I've been experiencing is like that only on the other end of the spectrum: Feeling depressed because I can't share this joy with everyone I love. I'm depressed because I'm so happy! It's sick or so I thought. Till I read this. Now I'm not feeling sick but blessed. Different, lonely, and blessed for it. It's the most beautiful pain outside of child birth. In a sense that is exactly what it is. I'm being made new in Him. Bitter-sweetness. Thank you God for putting this message in my path at just the right time. I've been struggling to understand this feeling.
Nothing is more wonderful than to be with Jesus. And often, when we are most alone in the world, He is nearest and dearest to us.
From Jerry Sills: The real Church has always stood, endured, and does not require a building or local congregation to triumph. Mrs. Johnson [quoted in "Dealing with Resisters"] will never be alone, "because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
The Bible's description of the "Last Days" describes modern Christianity quite clearly."
Yes, it does, Jerry. Here are some of the relevant Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Colossians 2:6-8
From Lewis: I believe this watering down of the Word in order to fill the seats with unbelievers is just the beginning of a one world church. Just the fact that the elderly have been pushed out is scary in itself. The churches won't have many people with Biblical discernment in 10-20 years at this rate.
My widowed friend Dolores (75 yrs old) is afraid to stand up against the crowd. I think its because her generation of women always had their husbands speak for them. She normally would be more likely to give up the church she joined 28 years ago than speak up. I tried to motivate her yesterday. I told her that our names mean nothing compared to what awaits us in heaven. Having a reputation for standing up for the Word of God is not a bad reputation to have!!! ;-)
From Sharon: I've followed the movement of the "Purpose Driven Church" for many months. I am wondering if it will perhaps diminish in significance and impact the way the much touted Promise Keepers did in the 90's.
This is different, Sharon. We are looking at a worldwide process of transforming communities and lifestyles. The Church Growth Movement parallels the ongoing communitarian changes in communities, corporations and all others major institutions. All must walk step-in-step into the new world order. All human resources for the coming global welfare system must think and relate alike in order to build a word characterized by a "solidarity" based on dialectic thinking and UN based duties and responsibilities.
With the coming global welfare system, the churches need to train servers who can meet community needs. It all fits in with Gore’s and Bush’s promotion of faith-based community service and "reinventing government."
Peter Drucker’s communitarian vision – now embraced by many in the State Department and Congress – involves three sectors: government, private (business), and social sectors. The key element in the last (third) sector is the church. Training church leaders to be change agents using the same model used in schools (outcome-based education = purpose-driven training) will conform Christian service to the international guidelines for human capital and social capital. See Faith-Based Compromise and Solidarity Versus Christianity
Pray that God will open eyes and many will resist this horrendous deception. The interconnected system is fast falling into place, and there will be no way to stop it. Only God can stop or slow this horrendous schemes.
From Yvonne K: I continue to be stunned by your articles about the Church Growth Movement and the agenda of those who promote it. I have not been in that situation, but I have been in the process of trying to find a church since 9/11 sent me running back to God, and have not had much luck finding one that has potential to be much more than a social gathering place. I have sensed leanings in the direction your articles spell out in a couple of the churches I have visited, and mostly just a lack of seriousness and sense of awe before The Great God. I am so in love with Jesus, and I'm looking for that longing to be in His Presence when I visit different churches, and maybe it's just me but I haven't sensed it yet. I'm praying that God will lead me to at least a prayer partner that I could get together with regularly to "gather in His Name" so He would be there with us.
I was so struck earlier today by the article about The Loneliness of the Christian, and I completely identified with it -- it is so true. Keep up the good work, you have certainly alerted me to what I need to be wary of in my search for a group to become part of. I can't imagine that I would ever be attracted to a church like that, but I suppose it's possible.
Jane W: In reading thru the method's I was reminded of the many times we heard repeatedly directly from the pulpit of the Mega Church we attended for 10 years. And I quote 'If you have been attending this church for 6 weeks or more and haven't gotten involved in serving in a ministry and connected in a small group, please move on ...we need your parking space.' Talk about sending a message of rejection and abandonment.... Thank you so much for the article, it confirmed so many things we and other's have experienced.
Thank you, Jane. And thanks for sending the link to "The Loneliness of the Christian" by Tozer. After a search, I found it on many other websites as well -- without any copyright notice. Since it seems to be in the public domain, I posted it on our site as well. I hope many will read it and be encouraged.
I wanted to add, something that I found very chilling in your article that really struck me. Under #1 Identifying the Resisters, Rick Warren's quote in regard to "unhealthy member's who resist his agenda..." In The Purpose Driven Church, he writes:
"When a human body is out of balance we call that disease.... Likewise, when the body of Christ becomes unbalanced, disease occurs.... Health will occur only when everything is brought back into balance. The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur."[1, page 16]
#1) "balance"...being the buzz word he uses...is that not in keeping with the black & white tessellated square' s of Freemasonry, and the yin & yang of the New Age, as well as the occult doctrine of as is above so is below?
#2)"discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur." Was that not Dr. Josef Goebbel's modus operendi in propaganda by showing on film clips of swarms of rat's invading a small area, and then pointing out that the Jew's where disease-carrying vermin that had to be exterminated for the health & balance of the Aryan Master race? It's extremely alarming to me that Rick Warren has already marked & labeled us as growth-restricting disease and has equipped CGM leaders with method's to not only discover, but efficiently remove us! Will the next phase of purpose be extermination of these so called growth restricting diseased resistors for the sake of health and balance in the global anti-christ church body?
These are truly indeed perilous times for the Bible believing remnant,.
Defending & occupying 'til He comes, Jane
You make some interesting points, Jane. But I don't know how to answer your questions. Your connection make sense, but I couldn't verify that Pastor Warren intended the word "balance" to imply the balancing of the opposites such as those of the yin yang (black/white, right/wrong, masculine/feminine, etc.)
Yet his whole management system relies on the dialectic process, which implies a continual effort to modify and change values and meanings by synthesizing opposites and finding common ground.
From David M.: I see you got your next Purpose-Driven installment out ["Dealing with Dissenters"]. I was especially interested in the Australian Pastor's comments. He stressed that it was not so much what the Purpose book said, but what it didn't say! I agree, but there is even more to it than that. The Purpose book does the same thing the newspapers do. It presents only the facts or truths it wants you to hear, and in a way that swings your feelings or opinions to their bias, so that you are only getting a half-truth. You are not getting the whole story, and you are being persuaded to believe their position just by the clever words or biases they use.
An example of this is when the freight train crashed into the river near Dunsmuir, California, spilling toxic chemicals that killed fish and wildlife. Of course, that was a terrible mess and a shame that so much river was damaged. But, according to the newspaper, the bottom line was that the railroad didn't care at all and was uninterested in helping. Sort of a "big industry" trampling society and showing no mercy for its "victims". That was not the case at all. After reading a more thorough, albeit biased towards the railroad, article, we found out that the railroad set up a "triage" station to assess the damage and bring things in order as fast as they could. They were clearly unhappy about the carnage and worked hard to get things in order. And even though the river was damaged, it quickly healed and functioning well again. I even read a letter-to-the-editor from a Dunsmuir resident who was essentially pleading with everyone to come back to Dunsmuir and enjoy the fishing, hiking etc. The damage was clearly over and things were back to normal. But you would never know that from the newspapers. I never saw any reconciliation or clarification of the story!
The same thing is happening with the Purpose book. Just as is happening with the schools, Warren et al are "teaching" the people how to be dumbed-down, ersatz "Christians" who maintain an ignorant smile and pacifist way so they aren't in a position to rock the boat. (Warren wants to keep them rowing so they don't rock the boat) I knew there was a reason for my ill feeling when dealing with that book. The dumbed-down version of a "Christian" will be less likely to confront management, which is just what the people in power want. I believe the same was true for the communist countries in the last century.
That type of management doesn't even reflect God! God loves us and gives us free will. Unfortunately, many people choose something other than God; God doesn't force Himself on us. But this dumbed-down business removes that free will, or at least renders its subjects helpless, or untrained, at challenging the management.
Websites like yours help wake people up to the damage before it gets any worse. I hope they will exercise their God-give free will and use it to challenge and fight the dumbing-down and our Christians and nations!
From Fabienne: The things L. wrote about in her letter would probably be echoed by a large number of Christians in your country and mine. We see it happening in most of the churches in our area. One can't help feeling that were Jesus to turn up in these churches He would do what He did in the Temple and make a whip of cords...
One church we know locally cancelled their Resurrection Sunday service (in which the believers would have celebrated the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death). Instead, they held an Easter "community
fun day", complete with donkey rides, jumping castle, hot cross buns, face painting, and an Easter egg hunt... I wonder how many people in the community had any idea of what Resurrection Sunday commemorates?
I continue to be puzzled by the people who equate growth in numbers of people present in a building to growth in the number of true believers. Aren't the stories in the Bible of King David and his census (1 Chronicles 21), and of the tiny army of Gideon (Judges 7), among others, there to teach us that what matters is not numbers but faith in and obedience to God?
And God tells us not to be conformed to the ways of the world (Romans 12, 1John 2:15-17)! The world tells us that God can't be trusted ("Did God really say...?"). The world sees obedience to God as foolish. So why are so many church leaders taking their congregations down the road of conformity to the world???
A few people do come to true faith in Christ through (or should that be 'despite'?) some of these activities, and that's God's mercy. But what about all the others who are misled and think they have been saved when they haven't? Jesus had some strong words about those who lead people to a false sense of salvation (Luke 11:52). Oh, may the Lord open their eyes!
May these leaders repent and turn back to the full Truth of God's word before it's too late for them and those who heed them...
[Speaking of leaders -- I wonder what Matt M. (comments on Pokemon) means by pointing out that he is "an ordained minister"? Firstly, he doesn't say what he is a minister of or in which organisation. Secondly, does he mean that therefore he is incapable of being deceived?]
I pray that the Lord will give Lisa and you and all of us who are called by Christ's name the courage to stand firm for the Truth and wisdom to know how to help those who are being deceived.
From L: While many are saved through this ministry I am not certain any more what they are saved to. After reading the many links connected with your ministry, I have finding confirmation of what has been troubling me for months – the lack of the FULLNESS of the gospel. There is indeed a great deal about God’s love, Christ filling the God-sized space in one’s heart, having a relationship with Jesus, eternal life, etc. – all true things – but there is VERY little (if anything at all) to do with repentance, sin and God’s holiness.
Now, we are starting “Purpose-Driven Life”, again an outreach ministry to reach the un-churched. As well, the entire church is going through it in Sunday School. I am not looking for my “purpose” in this life (I know it is about God) – but I am looking to know God and His Son Jesus Christ ever closer. If it were not for internet ministries I would have felt starved from the Word over the past 12-18 months. Also, throughout my struggles this past year, the Lord has led me to such authors as A.W. Tozer, Os Guinness and Jerry Bridges (The Gospel for Real Life) which has wonderfully fed my spirit in a desire to draw nearer to Jesus Christ and increase my desire to know Him and “answer His call”.
I will say this, the people of my fellowship are very warm and loving people and I have cherished relationships there. Despite this, many times I have desired to leave, but sense the Lord leading me to stay put. I could identify with “David”, one of the writers to your website, and your response. As large as the city is in which I live, I don’t feel there is really anywhere else to go.
I gave into the pressure and committed to the “building program”, signing a contract/covenant indicating what I would give over the 3 years. My heart still struggles with giving to something I never had peace about, trying to leave all of it in God’s sovereign hands and the fact that I am nowhere near yet being a “cheerful giver”. I am no longer in a period of resentment, but how does one reconcile becoming a cheerful giver once having “signed” under some sense of compulsion to give? Retracting my promise is not an option for me either? One thing that came of this is the determination to sign no more “contracts”… not for the Tithe (which was asked of us to sign through a Sunday morning message) or Purpose Driven Life. Any scriptures I can meditate through to lead me where God wants me to be in this circumstance?
I have been asking God to show me, but I also prayed that God would lead you to what He wants to show you. What came to my mind was that you might use a concordance or do a Bible word study on oath, oaths, vow or vows -- first in the New Testament, then the Old Testament. That order is important, because you would want to look at the Old Testament references in light of our New Covenant relationship with Jesus, our Lord, our Redeemer, our Life and our Shepherd.
The cross changed everything, which helps explain why Jesus told His disciples,
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of rthe great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Matthew 5:33
James echoed the same message: "But above all, my brethren, ndo not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment." James 5:12
I have appreciated the section on vows in Numbers 30:3-8 -- especially since I made some foolish, legalistic vows out of my early ignorance and enthusiasm for giving my all to Jesus. :)
You may also want to meditate on the rest of Matthew 5 -- and the Sermon on the Mount (through chapter 7) It always reminds me of His wonderful grace and love in the midst of my inadequacy in following all His ways. How I appreciate His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
And I respond with Paul: "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore lI take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
From Ronnie: My husband and I have been a part of a seeker sensitive church for about seven years. While only a few tools of the movement were used at first, it was through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and a chosen shepherd of the people that the church grew. Soon however, the elders and the pastoral staff began to embrace this dialectic process as they were taught by the CGM. And soon their various ministries became their idols and they no longer looked to the Word of God for direction, but man instead. When the finances of the church became critical and the whole staff was forced to take a 20% pay cut, they all decided to force the only shepherd of the flock who would not go all the way into the seeker movement out of his senior pastor position.
The congregation was shocked, hurt and dismayed, for they loved their shepherd. He was eventually forced to resign by these same elders and pastors who wanted control. There has been a real sifting of that body - hundreds have left, some fleeing to other churches, and over a hundred are now planting a new church and pursuing their wounded shepherd to lead them. The men of this church now realize that the seeker movement is NOT THE WAY - and that the Word of God taught in its fullness is the way, but they do not understand how many of their people are polluted with the diaprax (as Dean Gotcher says), and that this dear pastor does not fully understand the dangers of this form of gospel.
He recently made the comment that he believed that Hybel and Warren were both true men of God and that this movement just simply didn't work for every church. That troubles us - for we are finding ourselves placed in this particular remnant of god's people again as His watchman. There are few ears that want to hear what is really happening in these last days. I have referred many to your website recently - God Bless you for you faithfulness- Please pray for us!
Thank you, Ronnie, for your wise message. It is so sad to see the confusion, division and deception that follows in the wake of worldwide attempts to impose the world's ways on the church. When the churches become like the world, they can no longer provide God's people with a truly "safe" meeting place.
From Adrienne Raborn: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I was given your website by my daughter. I want you to know that several years ago my husband got caught up in this Rick Warren stuff and left a new church that we were instrumental in helping to establish. This movement is the most destructive I have ever seen in the church. I am 69 years old a PK and a Christian since the age of 9. Just recently the head of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Dean Doster, mandated that everyone in that office would do the 40 days study and then he strongly suggested all Baptist churches in Louisiana do it. Then he turned over the Evangelistic conference to guess who? Rick Warren's gurus.
My pastor and my church did not participate in any of this. I have never been so disturbed about anything church related in my Christian life--and to think the Baptist churches in La. have been led blindly down this road! Please pray for us here. Adrienne Raborn, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Thank you for sharing your concern with us. I am praying for you and grieve with you over the manipulation of churches everywhere. Small Bible teaching churches had a hard time surviving in our postmodern culture, but now the pressure to compromise is so much greater. Our church faces the same pressure.
From a friend in Australia: Rick Warren's teachings are certainly spreading here in Australia too. A couple of days ago a friend of ours started extolling his books and got rather upset when we began explaining what is wrong with them. This, after he'd just led a discussion on the fact that many churches forget the Holy Spirit and seem to see Him as unnecessary!
Why do so many Christians read the Bible and then ignore what it says??
Looking around for some other articles (as well as yours) to pass on to our friend, I came across "The Refusal of Christ to Conform to the Wishes of the People" by David W.Hall at http://capo.org/permise/95/april/ed.html His second paragraph shows well the absurdity of asking the world how to run the church.
From Dennis: Well, I think I am now dismayed, and also somewhat confused. I just listened to the first few minutes of Mr. Hank Hanegraaff's (CRI) radio program of today via my computer. Up to now I had regarded Mr. Hanegraaff as one of the more reliable sources of good theologically sound material. However, the guest on his radio broadcast for today and tomorrow is Rick Warren and the topic is Mr. Warren's new book "The purpose driven life." From the first few minutes of the broadcast I could quickly tell that Hank endorses Mr. Warren and his book. Am I missing something here? Am I the one that is out to lunch? Is it my theology that is all messed up? Are you missing something also?
Well, I do not think so. I totally agree with the article that you wrote regarding Mr. Warren's book. I still reject the whole philosophy that surrounds the Saddleback church and Willow Creek and all of that. The methods they employ for enticing unbelievers into their congregation/organization still seems to me to not be in line with what is written in Scripture. What is happening here? It seems that even many of the "stalwarts" (which I used to regard Mr. Hanegraaff as being) are falling by the wayside. What do you think about Mr. Hanegraaff?
Apparently, he doesn't the see the problems with the purpose-driven movement, Dennis.
From Lake Forest, CA: Rick's agenda is "Rick's Agenda", and it definitely is not that of the Lord Jesus Christ. After five years as a card carrying member of the Saddleback Worldly Church, I told everyone who would listen, small group members and pastors:
If it isn't Christ centered, Bible based, and Holy Spirit led, it isn't a Church! Saddleback Fails By This Criteria. It certainly is NOT a True Baptist Church!
Saddleback Church is: A humanistic, self centered, psychobabble-based cult, created and manipulated to serve Warren's Worldly Purpose! Think NWO and Global Governance. Get it? Oh yes, I got it, and I got out!
The Purpose will ultimately achieve sublimation by substituting a false interpretation of Christianity. This will accommodate the ecumenical movement, which will create the apostate church. Warren was mentored by: The Reverend Dr. Schuller.
From Cary: Thank you for the articles on "Purpose Driven." I reacted to the books when I first heard about them but wasn't sure why. I seldom read the "new things" because I have seen so much in the past that has redirected peoples lives in wrong directions. After awhile one becomes weary of such things and being critical of such just puts you even farther outside the camp. Your insight will help me with friends who also question these teachings but aren't sure why they question.
From Buddy: I've just read your first three installments on this movement. I'm afraid my church is preparing to go down this road. If they do, them I'M going down the road---to some other church. My pastor's Christmas sermon was built around Frosty the snowman. Please! I get my spiritual food from reading sermons by the old Puritans including Spurgeon. Thank the Lord for books by them and the ones on the internet.
God bless you. Keep up the good work.
From Jane: When I read Rick Warren's peace plan I must say I was deeply alarmed, especially because of his world wide influence deceives so many unsuspecting people.
I'd always wondered years ago how it would all come together into the one world church of the Antichrist and his false prophet. I now see that Rick Warren and Bill Hybel's are their main agents and I see a time coming when they will turn the remnant over and truly believe they are doing a godly service.
Many scriptures came to mind as I read thru his glowing plan and of his extolling PDL success and following:
Isa 48:22 [There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
Isa 59:8 The way of peace they know not; and [there is] no judgment in their
goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
Jer 6:14 They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.
Jer 8:11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.
Jer 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good [came; and] for a time of health, and behold trouble!
Jer 12:12 The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness:
for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the [one] end of the land even to the [other] end of the land: no flesh shall have peace.
Jer 14:13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
Jer 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, [even] lovingkindness and mercies.
Jer 23:17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
Jer 30:5 For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
Eze 7:25 Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and [there shall be] none.
Eze 13:10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and [there was] no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered [morter]:
Eze 13:16 [To wit], the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and [there is] no peace, saith the Lord GOD.
Dan 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy
many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
Mic 3:5 Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
Oba 1:7 All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee [even] to the
border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, [and] prevailed against thee; [they that eat] thy bread have laid a wound under thee: [there is] none understanding in him.
Zec 8:10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither [was there any] peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.
Mat 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape Rev 6:4 And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
I hear in his "Peace" plan and Church growth movement "Peace and Safety" ...
"Change" ... "Global Unity" ... a "One World" of Prosperity, "Global Glory for God", which god is he refering to? The god of the UN/ New World Order?
Is the wholePDC, PDL & his peace plan the strong delusion?
I'm deeply concerned & question when he says "I believe the proper role for all the great parachurch and relief organizations is to serve local churches in a supportive role, offering their expertise and knowledge, but allowing the local churches around the world to be central focus and the distribution centers." Does that mean they'll be fully in place thru Bush's Faith Based Initiative, then later be the processing places for enemy combatents (ie extremest fundamental believers, such as myself) to be taken and processed and sent to concentration camps?
I only pray the remnant will waken and cry out and warn as many as have ears to hear while there is still time.
Contending for the Faith,
Rev 12:11 KJV
"And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they lpoved not their lives unto death."
From Fabienne: Hello, Dennis. (see letter below) Your comment is a timely reminder of how much we should pray for Christians who are in the limelight or looked upon as "experts". The danger of their falling to the temptation to be proud is as great as it is for any of us (a danger the book of Proverbs warns us about again and again, as does Paul in his letters).
However, when they do fall it can have more far-reaching consequences since so many folk are looking to them to keep them on the right track.
Luke says the Bereans were more noble than the folk in Thessalonica because they checked out against the Scriptures everything Paul told them (Acts 17:11), and we should follow in the Bereans' footsteps, as you do.
If an "expert" resents our doing that it strongly suggests we should be wary of anything they say (of course we must always be happy for others to check out what we say, too!).
One of the things that is so refreshing about Berit and Andy's website is the constant reminder that it is God and His Word that we are to depend on. Berit's gentle and courteous answers to those who disagree with her are also an encouragement and reminder to us to reply in the same way to those who disagree with us ( as in Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:5, 1 Peter 3:15).
Sadly, I have been finding that more and more of the Christians I know are unwilling to cling to God's Word against what their favourite "expert" says or even simply their own likes and dislikes. This has led to some of them going right away from the faith, which is distressing to say the least. How many disasters might be averted if Christian teachers held fast to the Word in the face of so much calling evil good and good evil. For example, I know several couples who divorced instead of working at their marriage simply because a Christian teacher said divorce was "the only solution" since forgiveness "was impossible".
Something else that is going wrong is the way so many Christians, and especially "experts", are tearing shreds out of those with whom they disagree. On reading some "Christian" writings one can almost hear them snarl! Some of the "discernment" writers are so scathing about Christians in error that I hope they never meet them face to face or there might be murder.
Truly we must pray that our teachers will remain humble and teachable and that those who have gone off the Track will get back onto it. And we must be immersed in the Word, so we can always recognise false teaching, also remembering that we too can make mistakes (and hopefully a godly brother or sister will be there to point them out when we make them).
May the Lord God our Father keep you always in His Way through Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit.
From Dennis Monroe: Well, I think I am now dismayed, and also somewhat confused. I just listened to the first few minutes of Mr. Hank Hanegraaff's (CRI) radio program of today via my computer. Up to now I had regarded Mr. Hanegraaff as one of the more reliable sources of good theologically sound material. However, the guest on his radio broadcast for today and tomorrow is Rick Warren and the topic is Mr. Warren's new book "The purpose driven life." From the first few minutes of the broadcast I could quickly tell that Hank endorses Mr. Warren and his book.
Am I missing something here? Am I the one that is out to lunch? Is it my theology that is all messed up? Are you missing something also? Well, I do not think so. I totally agree with the article that you wrote regarding Mr. Warren's book. I still reject the whole philosophy that surrounds the Saddleback church and Willow Creek and all of that. The methods they employ for enticing unbelievers into their congregation/organization still seems to me to not be in line with what is written in Scripture. What is happening here? It seems that even many of the "stalwarts" (which I used to regard Mr. Hanegraaff as being) are falling by the wayside.
Dave: I was very interested in your document about the "Purpose Driven Life". I did a study with that book, also believing, at first, that this was really a good thing. But I had bad feelings while reading it and talked with my wife about it. I wasn't sure what was bothering me.
Now, after reading your article and other similar articles, I realize I was sensing the danger the book imposed, thanks to guidance by the Holy Spirit. I was then prompted to write my own article describing my gripes about the book, based on my own complaints and reflections on claims made by you and the other people discussing it. Writing it down helps get it off my chest.
I now cringe everytime I see that book on the bookshelves with its nice appearance and first-glimpse goodness, only to be hiding real evil. I feel many unsuspecting Christians are eating it up without reservations, easily failing to recognize the treachery behind it because their feelings and emotions are so touched by Warren's clever words. I'm relieved that I'm not the only one that is alarmed by this! My prayer is that others will recognize the hidden message and stick to the "straight and narrow path" that Jesus tells us about.
From Carol: ... I was mostly interested in your article about the Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren.
I recently started reading the book as in about a three week period three or four people mentioned this great book, how friends and churches were going through the book and I felt I "needed" to get the book myself and read it.
I began feeling a bit uneasy after about day four as it disturbed me that I had to go to the back of the book to find the bible reference and though the Bible verses quoted seemed familiar they did not seem accurate to me. Now, after reading your links to information on The Message Bible I can understand why I felt the inaccuracy was present.
I don't know if I should continue reading the book or not. My heart tells me I need to just get into God's Holy Word and not read a book written by a human, uninspired by God, telling me how I should live my life.
I was raised in the Lutheran Church and one sentence I will never forget my dad saying is "the Word, the Word, nothing but the Word." I am no longer attending the Lutheran church, but I think I need to heed my dad's advise and get into the Word more.
Thank you so much for your insight and may God bless your family as you seek to spread the truth.
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